14 Pierce County groups will share $100K for historic preservation projects

Fourteen historic preservation organizations in Pierce County will share just over $100,000 in grant funding to help pay for a variety of local heritage projects and programs, according to a resolution approved Tuesday by Pierce County Council.

The funding is part of the Pierce County Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission’s preservation grant program, which encourages countywide non-profit organizations, public agencies, and owners of properties listed on local historic registers to apply for grants to help pay for historic preservation or history-related projects. Funds are provided by Washington State legislation enacted in 2005 that directs one dollar of a five-dollar filing fee toward historic preservation and historical programming.

Maximum grant amounts fall into two categories: $15,000 for stabilization, restoration, or rehabilitation of local register-listed buildings or structures; and $7,500 for photographic/document preservation, historic markers, history research, and public events/programming. In the past, grants have been used to pay for surveys of historic properties and historic documents in Pierce County, the preservation of historic newspaper clippings, and restoration of a homestead cabin dating back to 1885.

This year’s application deadline expired in July. Pierce County’s Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission received 20 grant applications, and evaluated those applications during public meetings in July and August, according to documents prepared by Pierce County staff. The commission recommended 14 applications share $100,405 in grant funding (see “14 Pierce County groups could share $100K for historic preservation projects,” Tacoma Daily Index, Oct. 27, 2015), and Pierce County Council approved those recommendations Tuesday.

Here is the breakdown:

Building Applications Recommended/Approved for Funding ($57,640)

  • Northpoint Cooperative Preschool – Dash Point School Preservation Project / $15,000
  • Longbranch Improvement Club – Preservation Phase 1 / $12,640
  • Pioneer Farm Museum – Schoolhouse Roof Repairs / $7,500
  • Fox Island Chapel – Steeple Restoration Project / $15,000
  • Morse Wildlife Preserve Barn – West Shed Roof Repair / $7,500

Non-Building Applications Recommended/Approved for Funding ($42,765)

UPDATE | MON., NOV. 30 @ 3:30 P.M. – During the Pierce County Council meeting on Tues., Nov. 24, several people spoke in support of the resolution to award grant funding. Their comments (edited / abridged / condensed) are included here:

Jan Lucas / Steilacoom Historical Museum Association Vice-President

I would like to complement you for the wonderful work that you do for the communities. I represent the Steilacoom Historical Museum Association and we are one of the recipients of one of your grants this year. I also want to point that in 2009 we also obtained a grant from you, which we used to do restoration on our wagon shop, which is part of one of our four historic properties. We redid the windows and redid the shaked roof. The in-kind [contribution] that went with that was that all the shakes were cut by members of the [Steilacoom Historical Museum Association] and members of the community. The amount of labor that we estimated we saved was about $22,000. So we’re really grateful to the grant program and for all that you’ve done.

Cassandra de Kanter / Steilacoom Historical Museum Association Volunteer Grant Writer

I would like to echo how much we appreciate the past support to enable us to preserve Steilacoom’s unique historic character as part of Pierce County. We are very excited about the project that we have sought funding for, which would be a series of interpretive signs — beautiful signs — throughout Steilacoom that would highlight some of our local area’s significance to the voyage of Peter Puget as part of Captain Vancouver’s voyage. This is a project that we will do in collaboration with other historians in the area and other groups that are working to commemorate different points along the Puget journey with different signage. So it will tie us in not only just to our county but even some points beyond, and will help visitors to Steilacoom — people who come and enjoy the beauty and the fun that Steilacoom has to offer — really appreciate that part of local history when they’re not even inside our museum. It’s going to take this type of history beyond the museum doors and make it accessible, make it interesting, make it beautiful, and preserve it for future generations.

Marion Phillips Eaton / Pioneer Farm Museum and Ohop Indian Village Boardmember

We also just want to say, ‘Thank you, very much.’ We have benefited from the [Pierce County Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission] and they have helped support us in putting back together an old cabin on the Pioneer Farm [Ohop Indian] Village site, which is one of the few historically designated sites in Pierce County. We look forward to our continued cooperation in helping us keep this educational facility for children and families going. Thank you.

Casey Halverson / Northpoint Cooperative Preschool Board Co-President

We have a historical building that was built back in the early 1920s. It’s a beautiful building. However, with older buildings, there is a bit of cost in maintaining and keeping them up. This grant is going to be very helpful for us on several projects that we have. We have a historical coal chute that used to go down into a coal furnace. That is, unfortunately, leaking. We have another classroom that doesn’t even have a sink for the kids, so they have to use tubs to wash their hands. These improvements will really help the kids, obviously, and help our preschool for generations to come. I would really like to thank the council and the sponsors of this to make this all possible.

Pierce County Councilmember Douglas Richardson

I want to thank you for the work that you do as a result of these grants. The projects you all do are very, very worthwhile. There’s some sweat equity involved in all of these grants that people implement in their communities. I want to take the time to thank you for coming down here and paying parking and just for what you are doing all the time in our communities to make them a better place.

To read the Tacoma Daily Index‘s complete and comprehensive coverage of Pierce County Landmarks and Historic Preservation Commission’s preservation grant program, click on the following links: